GE, Mayo Clinic to study MRI brain scanner tech

GE Global Research and the Mayo Clinic have received a five-year, $5.7 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to research the use of a dedicated MRI brain scanner to image for disorders including stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, traumatic brain disorder, depression and autism.

The partners hope a dedicated high-field scanner could offer a more specialized imaging approach for neurological imaging versus the current one-size-fits-all concept of whole-body MRI imaging, according to a GE release. "The development of a head only MRI system could address 25-30% of all MR imaging procedures today," said Jim Davis, general manager of GE Healthcare's Magnetic Resonance Imaging business. "Research in this area aims to bring benefits of lower total costs, better image quality, greater patient comfort, and makes this a very attractive opportunity for collaboration."

GE researchers will develop and complete the prototype system over the next three years. It will then be tested in human clinical trials at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for two years. During that time, the system will be assessed and compared with standard MRI scanners already in use.

As the GE statement notes, this collaboration illustrates an emerging trend of more specialized imaging systems. It will potentially enable smaller, lighter designs that increase the accessibility of MRI to remote settings and regions where the technology is currently unavailable. The project is closely aligned with GE's Healthymagination initiative, which is built on a global commitment to reduce costs, improve quality and expand access to healthcare for millions of people.

- see the GE release